Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tuesday Poem: Rapanui, by Barbara Strang


This year for the first time
we can walk right
up to the rock, she said.

I love this texture
the red knobbled base,
the curving basalt upstands,

see that bush
clinging on a high ledge -
amazing how plants survive.

If we could like mice
enter those crannies in the base
we'd be safe.

And do you know the true name
for this rock, she said?

Not answering
he turned away.

-Barbara Strang


I have been enjoying Christchurch poet Barbara Strang's new collection, The Corrosion Zone, which is published by Headworkx.

'Rapanui' is the Māori name for Shag Rock, meaning the great stern-post. The rock was a sentinel on the way to Sumner beach, but unfortunately it fell down in the earthquake of 22nd February, 2011. Visiting Sumner a week or two ago and seeing the rock in its present state put me in mind particularly of this poem. The photo at the head of the column shows the rock as it is now.

And here is a stunningly beautiful photo of the rock as it was.

Also among this week's Tuesday poems is another of Barbara's poems, Fatigues, at Tim Jones's blog. For more poems, visit the main Tuesday Poem hub site. (Check out the links in the side bar).


Kathleen Jones said...

I read the one on Tim's blog and I really like this one too. I can see I'm going to have to get hold of Barbara Strang's work.

Gerry Snape said...

I love the poem...but the sight of the rock is saddening...it could have been a standing stone over here with it's super shape.